SL054: What The Best Keynote Speakers Have In Common – with Scott Friedman

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Similarities of the Best Keynote Speakers 

Ever wondered what the best keynote speakers have in common? In today’s interview James Taylor talks with speaking industry legend Scott Friedman about:

  • Characteristics of the best global speakers
  • Universal storytelling tips
  • Determining your perfect 365 days

Resources:

Book: http://insidersecretsofinternationalspeaking.com/

Tools: FlightTracker App

Website: http://www.scottfriedman.net/

Similarities of the best keynote speakers

 

Artificial Intelligence Generated Transcript

Below is a machine-generated transcript and therefore the transcript may contain errors.

James Taylor
Hey there’s James Taylor he a business creativity keynote speaker and founder of International Speakers Summit. Today I speak with Scott Friedman about building a global speaking model, determining your perfect 365 days and universal storytelling tips. Enjoy this session. Hey there, it’s James Taylor and I’m delighted today to be joined by Scott Friedman. Scott Friedman, certified speaking professional founder of the Global Speaker Summit and former president of the National Speakers Association, is the author of celebrate lessons learn from the world’s most admired organizations Happily Ever Laughter using humor for change, and a celebration a day 365 ways to a happier, healthier workplace. For over 30 years, Scott has traveled the globe speaking on employee innovation, customer experience and using humor and celebration as a strategic tool. schoolfriend together we can change the world a nonprofit organization serving orphans and less fortunate women in Southeast Asia and it’s my great pleasure to have him join us today. So welcome, Scott.

Scott Friedman
Thanks, James. Great to be with with you.

James Taylor
So share with everyone what’s going on in your world just now what currently has your focus.

Scott Friedman
Let’s see what’s happening. Just finished a celebration a day 365 ways to a happier, healthier workplace. now working on another in the celebrate series called turn, celebrate turn on your GPS, which has gratitude plans surprise, and always working on a new project with together we can change the world. So all good in my world.

James Taylor
And you’ve just been I think you’ve just finished a series of speaking engagements.

Scott Friedman
Yes, just came off about seven weeks on the road in Southeast Asia and a few assorted spots in the US and one of our together we can change your world tours, where we brought 15 Global speakers with us to Southeast Asia to speak and to serve as well. Amazing. So share with everyone

James Taylor
how did you get started in speaking professionally? Where did it all begin for you?

Scott Friedman
Started in 1984. When I ran into cabinet Robert told me I had a unique style and I should be a professional speaker and at the time I didn’t realize he said that Everybody, by Tom I figured it out. It was too late. I was a professional speaker. So quit the, with the family business. I was president at the time have a side organization called sales professionals, and basically created a career when I was 2425 years old. I’m Kevin, obviously the founder of National Speakers Association as well. Yes, he became my he was my first mentor and was a was a wonderful role model and I learned the business really from cabinet. So the perfect, the perfect model.

James Taylor
I was gonna say the, the perfect mentor to have it and in those early days, as you got started as a professional speaker, who were those, those early mentors apart from Cavett and also who were the who were the people you maybe aspire to, or you kind of looked up to as speakers and you you can listen to a lot too and you can have studied their work.

Scott Friedman
I remember I was early on in my career, I was looking for a job. And I wrote down five names that I wanted to learn from. And Mark Sanborn, Terry Paulson, Lou heckler, Jim Cathcart, and Joe Calloway, were the five that I really wanted to learn from. And Lou became, after Kevin became my first mentor and coach me, but I have great respect for all those guys.

James Taylor
And what was it in particular from Lou that you you learned most

Scott Friedman
really more about values than anything else that did just that your career is really a tool to create whatever lifestyle you want a chance to hang out with the people that you love, and a chance to make a difference in whatever unique way you want to make a difference in the world. So it really is about living life on your terms instead of on your career terms. And then of course, storytelling, lose one of the best storytellers in the world and help me with my storyteller

James Taylor
and when did the humor Come such a strong part of your keynotes is one of the things you’re known for is the human side. When did that, when did that really kind of come out and you’re speaking

Scott Friedman
well, early on the market defined me as a motivational humorist. And then as the years went by, and there was a lot of funny guys that came on, that came along, I realized if I was going to try to sell humor, I was in big trouble. So I had to find another angle. So early on really was more more so than it is today. And now it’s really my unique niches, how celebration impacts productivity and team performance in the workplace.

James Taylor
And so you can go go started, you were speaking, more and more. Can you remember like maybe a key inflection point in your speaking career where you’ve definitely felt that things have taken a step up or you had some an aha moment or an insight in your speaking career and you went, Okay, this is the direction I want to be going with it.

Scott Friedman
You know, I’m waiting for that moment now. No, no. There’s along the way. There’s been some there Some, some turning points are good moments. But I actually was in Malaysia on the way to a field trip to Petra nos Learning Center where I was chatting with the time a form of colleague, who was also serving on the board of a company in Malaysia, that put me through a process that realized my unique way of looking to the world was through the eyes of celebration. And that became my unique look at employee engagement and customer experience. So that was one of the big moments, which was a really 25 years into my career, maybe longer or more than that.

James Taylor
And, you know, no, this is one of the founders of global speakers summit, as well. And you know, obviously speaking globally, what characteristics Have you noticed from the from the really the great and then also the successful global speakers out there?

Scott Friedman
Uh, the best speakers, let’s see, well, I in 2005, my big project for the year when I was printing And I’m going to say was the global speakers summit. Very excited to see it coming back this year to Auckland, New Zealand, Mike Hancock, I know is on your program, wonderful speaker and he’s the chair of that. But I think in all the five global speakers summits that we’ve had so far, and as well as just observing speakers, I think they exhibit three qualities, the best speakers, if you want to speak globally, humility, Authenticity, and vulnerability, those three those three qualities and if, you know, so many times I, I see speakers speak on on others turf, in other words, you know, globally so that they’re not speaking in their home country and, and they need to prove themselves so they, in some cases, they’ll come from a place of arrogance and instead of humility, and I think that gets them in a lot of trouble. So if you just, if you come in Say, I don’t I’m not here to control my audience. But I’m, I’m here to see what we have in common. And it’s it’s really just a relationship like you and me and my audience are just talking in the living room. And it’s, it’s, it’s a very informal conversation yet. At the same time, I want to share who I am I want to be authentic with you. I want to be vulnerable. I want to I want to share my experiences when things didn’t work. So well. That’s where I learned the lesson. And, and I want to be, I’m going to be humble. That’s most important. Can you give me an example of that maybe from from one of your fellow speakers who you you’ve seen? I know it’s difficult sometimes as a speaker, you’re up there speaking and you don’t get a chance to hear some some of the other speakers who are speaking at an event but is there an example of or someone that was strong in your mind, you saw speaking a global event and you felt that they embodied these characteristics and how they did That now just the first one that comes up comes to my mind because the AP SS Asia professional speakers of Singapore just had their conference. You know, Jerome Joseph and I have had this conversation for many years. And it was so nice to see Jerome, he sharing it’s such a deeper level today to start it off the AP SS conference with a story of his dad and, and a very touching story and, you know, brought tears to the eyes of the audience. And so I think Jerome has really learned the lesson over the years where I used to say, drom, you can’t you know, you can’t come from that place of arrogance. And now he really does come from that place of humility, vulnerability and authenticity. That would be one good example right there that comes to mind.

James Taylor
And so you mentioned the, like, the idea of, of it not not being Nestle about the beer, I can think of that there are those fish those bloated fish that you know, they kind of expand like three times their size? I don’t think so. There’s so there’s maybe certain speakers that they they kind of they do that it’s Like, it’s I don’t know, if it’s a self preservation mechanism of some sort. And, and I actually I think about some of those, those speakers I remember. And they don’t have that they have an authenticity I find is is, is a difficult word sometimes. Because it’s actually quite a complex word I find, because it’s used in different ways. And I find the humility bit is I see that many speakers I hold really dear, that there was there was a humility about them the way that they they communicated with the audience. You didn’t feel like it was them just proclaiming from the stage then down to you in the audience. You felt you you were part it was part of a company knows you’re saying it’s kind of part of a conversation.

Scott Friedman
Yeah, I think today we’re we’re more facilitators of learning. And we we are Anything else? Yeah. Used to be the old saying of a sage on the stage. Yeah, but now we’re the guy down the street. I’d like to say to my audience, there’s a lot more wisdom in front of me than there is in front of you. So we need to tap into that wisdom in the room and it takes a certain amount of vulnerability to to say hey I’m open to the ideas and open to the wisdom that hey, there’s probably a lot more wisdom in front of me my case it’s real easy but for others who have a little bit of an ego and make a lot of stuff you could be in trouble but so it’s it’s being able to let go and being able to really be open to what the situation brain so that you truly can tap into the wisdom in the room.

James Taylor
And you see any when it comes to storytelling, as you mentioned, Jerome they are telling a very honest and authentic story in his when he is presentation a PSS, but are they? Are they any kind of universals. When it comes to storytelling when you especially when you’re speaking to global audiences, you’re you’re speaking in tongues. Maybe one day and you’re speaking in Australia than United States. So wherever else are the things that we can all learn in terms of the art of storytelling?

Scott Friedman
Sure. The first of all, I mean, stories transcend, transcend cultures. So storytelling really is the best way to connect with your audience. So universal truths where they will understand what that truth is all over the world. And a big key is the ivers you ratio. So many times I when I, when I tell Well, when people tell stories, it’s III, as opposed to your it’s, it’s you’re involved in this story. Let’s Let’s, you know, through my story, you should be able to see your life. This story is not just about me, it’s about you, who is a wonderful storyteller. He’s got a great story to tell about, you know, how he’s been through these two horrendous accidents and he starts his speech off by saying, Have you ever been in prison? This wheelchair used to be a prison to me. So he immediately, you know, talks about what your prison is what what holds you back. So from the very beginning of his story, you’re relating to what it is for you that may that may be your pain in your life. And that’s our goal as storytellers is, you know, how can I take you on a journey with me? So it’s through my story, it’s, it’s our story, and we see your life in our story.

James Taylor
I guess that when you you hear those comments and move all your members, we’ve got great speakers and they say things like, I felt you were talking to me. I felt that was that was that was that was, you’re talking in the making, as you said, you know, in the in that one he was talking about, you know, his his wheelchair and being confined to that and his prison, but we all have that in some way or the other. We have those kind of prisons, those mental boxes that we kind of put ourselves into Well I love that story because it’s just it’s that it’s the universality of that as well and the idea you say stories they they transcend coaches because so often we get caught up in thinking about Oh, I know I do is especially as a as a relatively new speaker thinking all camps that I’m speaking to this audience in this place now there’s maybe some cultural things any think about them and and stuff like that, where maybe I need to be just kind of pulling back to the, the humanity of things and the stories as well.

Scott Friedman
Exactly. One other tip that is very helpful. We play this game in our mastermind group called half the words. So you take your story, you would write it out, and then say, okay, that’s nice. Now, tell the same story in half the words. So it really makes you take a look at your story and and find out what really is essential in that story to be effective. And if it doesn’t help develop the the theme of the story If it’s not a comedic aside, then chances are you’re telling too much of the story. As speakers or even just lay storytellers, we tend to provide way too many details. And in storytelling, less is more, the payoff for the punch line or the moral of the story has to be bigger than the build up of the story. So try that. Try that with your own stories, half the words and see. So

James Taylor
I love that and it’s it might sound quite a choose relation, but I think people like Tatum did the great jazz pianist. And whenever we played, he always you felt there was a there was a lot more going on than it actually was going on. He was implying things he was implied when it was time he was implying tempo. He was implying harmonics that you know that that weren’t there. But what was actually really doing as you as the audience member, you are filling in the blanks. You do a lot that you do. The heavy lifting for him. So he allows it to be a little more sparse. I think that’s great that so I’ve definitely the half half the words as well. You mentioned kind of earlier on about talking about the sense of, of your lifestyle, the lifestyle of a speaker, as well. And how can we think about that for in terms of how because there seems to be as I spoke to all these different speakers, there’s so many avenues so many options for speakers today. Do you have any tips for people just to help them decide? I know we had Jean Atkins is talking about your choosing your lane, as we’re just going to part a part of that. But do you have any tips about choosing helping someone figure out because they’re gonna hear all these amazing stories and all these different ways that speakers have built their business, but how they can think about them for themselves to know which which options are going to be best for them?

Scott Friedman
I think it starts with we all have 365 days in a year. So it’s how do you in a perfect world? What Would that 365 days? What would the makeup look like? How much training how much speaking How much do you want to be home? How much international travel Do you want to do? So that that’s where it starts, you know, you big picture blank canvas. What does that look like? And then, you know, why not? I mean, the great thing about the speaking business today is, like you said, there’s so many different models so many different ways to make money from blended learning to, to keynote speaking used to be keynote speaking was number one revenue source for professional speakers globally. Now it’s closer to five or six on the list. So how do you want to live your life? I mean, you you see a high divorce rate in speakers. I’ve never been divorced. Guess you have to be married first. But um, but really that so it’s defining your values. People say well, geez, how do you you know, why do you How did you get speaking in Southeast Asia. I made a decision. I I love Southeast Asia, I want to I want to do more in Southeast Asia than I wanted to serve in Southeast Asia. So I know that I’m going to be there 100 days a year, and I’m going to figure out what I need to do to spin 100 days a year between together we can change the world in my my speaking business. So then, then then I know that my strategy is going to be based on exactly where I want to be during the year, summertime in Colorado, where I am now it’s beautiful out. I love Colorado in the summertime, I want to be here as much as possible in the summertime. So the 100 days a year I spent in Colorado, most of that time will be during the summer. So it’s you know, it’s I mean, it’s nice to believe that we can have that but we as long as we start there, we may have to make a few sacrifices along the way. But I believe that knowing that and then getting strategic and partnering with other speakers and coming from that place of abundance

James Taylor
We know the affiliate market marketing strategies work today. You know, why not tap into the collaboration of our, of our good buddies colleagues and, and figure out a way to make our perfect world work? I guess that helped you kind of cut out some of the noise I mean is C’s is a, there’s always that danger, the bright shiny thing syndrome, something comes along, oh, we need webinars, I need to be there. But then you can kind of go back to that that vision those 365 days like, well, how does that fit? does that fit in terms of what what I’m looking to do? I know a big part of what you’re about. Now, you can have built this this great kind of speaking career. But you’re looking to go beyond that in terms of service in other ways as well. Once you know for many of our speakers here that they’re at that point in their lives, they’re built, they’re busy, they’re doing all speak good. They got the training, they’ve got their online course their products, but they feel there’s something kind of lacking there. That feels It’s just as for the SBI, instead of the wider and so this doesn’t really relate to speaking, I guess is the broader point. And any tips because you’ve obviously been at that place of kind of wanting to then serve in a bigger way. Any advice would you be you would give to people that maybe that’s where their their mindset currently is.

Scott Friedman
I think is we all at some point, hopefully want to move from success to significance. So for me, I, it’s been wonderful because it’s a way I figured out a way to involve my colleagues, my, my tribe, my my community speakers, with making a difference to him in a place that makes such a big difference to me, which is Southeast Asia. So, you know, I would say, Well, you know, what, really, we’ve all been touched in some way by different causes. So it’s finding out what causes most important to you and then figuring out a way to give back to that area, and there’s so many ways to go To creative around it, but I, I think first is, you know, figuring out what that cause is. And then being intentional about, you know, and maybe it you know, maybe you can, like we’ve started a speaker’s bureau for together, we can change the world, good. We want to partner with speakers who also want to give back to the community. And we’re just getting that up and running here been around about a year now. But so, you know, maybe you can figure out a way then to involve that giving back either to book sales or so you can tap into the market that also supports what you support. That way, it’s a win win, not only do you get back, but you also develop a community or a tribe that that wants to get back along with you.

James Taylor
And it’s been interesting, you know, for someone that’s relatively new into the into the speaking business, it feel is a very, very strong sense. And obviously the National Speakers Association APS s and it’s not all industries like that. But a very strong sense of people wanting to support each other in their growth. I felt like when I first met you in Singapore and I was obviously speaking over there, and I was sitting in that in that room after I’d given it and listening to it was kind of quiet it was talking and I was just kind of sitting back and I was just looking at I think there’s not many industries of people at that level you know, that will be top of what they do that are so willing to share this is what’s working this is what’s not the here you here’s a potential lead is a suggestion for you as well giving, giving honest and feedback in a in an appropriate way in a supportive way as well. Now you’ve been involved in all these different associations. Is it is it like this for all of them? Or is it just I was just lucky to like when I saw a in a PSS, that there was something really special happening now.

Scott Friedman
Well, I think it all starts with Cabot Robert, Kevin Roberts said you give away your trade secrets come from a place of abundance and what will happen As all professional speakers will get better, we will rise the tide of all boats, we will increase the size of the pie so that there will be more pie for everyone. And I think that that’s We were founded on that principle. And so now what are their 14 associations within the global speakers Federation? I think they’ve all found that that works. And it all leaders through those 14 associations, whether it whether it be Steph dupa z in South Africa, or Lindsey atoms in Australia or Politico, plethora of folks in Singapore, I mean, we we’ve been taught Well, we know that that principle works. And that really is what makes the global speakers Federation. So abundantly successful, is that you know, it’s it’s a place that you can feel is home and you can get the learning and and learn about The business model that you want for your future

James Taylor
and it’s interesting going speed is being at the Singapore one and just hearing and getting a sense of the different the different models that were at play in some of these in some of the territories in Asia and and what what maybe what would work particularly well in one place that would work for other if someone is thinking about entering it maybe they’re speaking in their own home territory just now but they’re looking to make that first move into into a new territory a new a new country, what advice would you give them in terms of making that kind of market entry there?

Scott Friedman
I think you need to make a commitment to the area you know, we bring a lot of folks over from around the world for the HR summit for instance in in Singapore and many things boy that you know, and it’s you know, it’s it’s it’s rich in in, in companies that could possibly hire you. But what I A lot of times are all here afterwards is Geez, that didn’t really work out for me. It’s because they haven’t made a commitment to the area in the Middle East and in Asia, it’s the relationship that really needs to be nurtured over time. So if I want to if I want to say that hey, Dubai and maybe Qatar and and Kuwait and Bahrain that, well, I want to make that my market, I need to commit to spending some time there. So I need to, I need to go on to LinkedIn and and look at the the areas that I speak in, for me would be hospitality and in healthcare, get my get an engagement somehow, and work for a hospital work for a hotel over there, and then just start making phone calls and try to build other business along with it. But I need to make a commitment to that area. And then I want to get involved in the local Association, the local Speakers Association there, because I want to know how the game is played. I want to make friends I want to give, help others become successful, share what I’ve learned, and then that law of reciprocity kick that into To play, but but I really think it does come down to a commitment and being willing to give before we

James Taylor
get. So you can always have, you kind of have a little bit of embedding, you have to do a bit of go just go there and embedded and just get a guess, feel of the flavor kind of doing your market intelligence and really kind of committing to that, that place. I suppose that that also because it also appears that there’s so much opportunity out there in terms of countries and, and things that can also be quite useful in terms of restricting you know, you mentioned that that that phrase there half the words so like receiving quite half the world but you can you think about those those territories you think I’m going to how could I, you know, hospitality or health care? How can I really develop that particular territory a particular country over time because as you say, That’s always been my experience in Japan. You know, it took me five years to get into business there. We were just kind of going back every time building and releasing Then once it started, actually it was a lot of lot of things, they just kind of kind of came after a while. So so that that sense of again, building into this territory, I’m interesting, maybe on the more prosaic side of things, but what is in your speaker bag what is in that bag that you you take with you You never leave home without is it’s always got your things in it that you need for your speaking opportunities. What’s in that speaker bag?

Scott Friedman
That speaker bag would include a good sense of humor number one sense of gratitude. Patience. That’s I think that’s probably the most important is, is I have a rule that if I’m not going to miss a speech, I don’t allow myself to get worked up. Because it’s a, you know, the travel the travel is probably the most difficult part of this job. But yet it’s it’s a, it’s not that bad. It’s compared to what we could be doing. It’s still it’s still pretty, you know, pretty darn appealing even that part of it. So Well, I start there. And let’s see, what else do I bring along with me? You know, if I have a laptop and I can work from anywhere, I’m, I’m pretty much good to go, of course, then a remote as well that I’m familiar with it. travel with that. But sense of humor, that’s got to be the

James Taylor
number one tool. I think I was I was talking to someone the other day. And he was he was quoting a client a fee for something and he said what the fee was and, and the client said, Wow, that that that’s a really high fee. You know, it’s a really high fee for you know, just being on that stage for the hour. And he said, Oh, no, no, I speak for free. I charged that to do all the traveling and

Scott Friedman
all the other stuff. All the hassle, hassle,

James Taylor
all the hassle vida,

James Taylor
what about any online resources or tools or mobile apps that you really enjoy using the font you find useful for yourself as a speaker,

Scott Friedman
flight tracker, so I usually they Seems to be more updated than the the sights of the airlines themselves, tells you what gate you’re at and what plane you’re going to be on that kind of thing. And then of course, United Airlines, I fly probably more than the other airlines. So I have their app and I’m trying to think of what other apps I travel apps would be the most useful. But those two would be very useful to me.

James Taylor
And what used to suggest just one book to everyone that you think they should check out you think would be really useful for them? It could be on speaking, they could also maybe be on the topics that you speak on what would that book be?

Scott Friedman
Because that’s a loaded question I have to go with Happily Ever Laughter. I do engage audience, which is my book.

James Taylor
I should have I should have prefaced that by saying I can’t be one of your books.

Scott Friedman
Actually. I also I think, Tom Morel and Debbie Allen wrote a great book called international speaking, which I think has some, some wonderful, wonderful tools and tips for this particular audience that we’re appealing to here. That’s it.

James Taylor
And a final question for you, Scott, let us imagine tomorrow morning, you woke up with it. I’m going to shoot this in Colorado, you wake up and you have all the tools of your trade, all the knowledge, the skills you’ve acquired, but you have to start from scratch. You know, no one, no one knows you. You have to stop the beginning. But you can choose how to start. What would you do? How would you restart?

Scott Friedman
Well, the Dale Carnegie said the difference between a good speaker and a great speaker is 1000 speeches. So the mistake people make in this business is they start worrying about marketing and all the different business models before they really good, good. So I would, I would say get good on the platform number one, and then build a tribe. You know, I started in a day before it really the internet. So, you know, I was a lot of different things to different audiences. But now because of the internet, it’s important to be known for something. So I would build a definable, distinct online brand, and then I would market the heck out of it once and at the same point in most importantly first really is to get good is to continue to practice, hone the craft, you know, really look into the eyes of the audience, tape, every speech that you give So you make sure that you’re, you’re offering relevant value and continue to grow in the area of your expertise.

James Taylor
Well, Scott, it’s been great speaking to you today. Thank you so much for coming on this and sharing your your knowledge and your wisdom as well. I’ve got so many notes here. I’m sure everyone else listening is gonna have all these notes of things that they can be doing next. I look forward to catching up with you soon. Maybe in Singapore, maybe something some stage somewhere in the world. But thank you so much for coming on today.

Scott Friedman
Fantastic. Thanks so much, James.

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